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Hedgehog ‘Highways’ Take Over Suburban England

posted: 01/26/16
by: Danny Clemens
Hedgehog in grass
Kristian Bell/Getty Images

If you look closely, you're likely to spot a lot of holes in garden fences around England. Although compromised fences are usually the sign of an unwanted pest, these holes are intentional, and part of a new projected dubbed the "hedgehog highway."

Spearheaded by the Hedgehog Preservation Society, the highway initiative aims to facilitate safer, easier passage for hedgehogs in highly developed residential areas.

Hedgehogs, which are beloved throughout England, can travel as much as one mile each day in search of nests, food and mates. Fenced-in residential sprawl can severely disrupt the creatures' ability to forage; hedgehog numbers dropped by an estimated 30% over the last decade, according to The Wildlife Trusts.

Related: Washington State to Construct Wildlife Bridge Over Busy Highway

As a preventative conservation measure, hedgehog advocates are encouraging homeowners to make small holes in or dig small passageways beneath their fences to encourage hedgehog movement. While 5-inch holes are large enough for hedgehogs to travel through, they are much too small for pets or most larger predators to enter.

Gardeners, too, can benefit from inviting hedgehogs into their green spaces, the organization adds, because the spiny animals feed on beetles, slugs and other pests that can wreak havoc on gardens when left unchecked.

H/T NPR

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